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Being Born Under Adverse Economic Conditions Leads to a Higher Cardiovascular Mortality Rate Later in Life: Evidence Based on Individuals Born at Different Stages of the Business Cycle

  • Gerard van den Berg

    ()

  • Gabriele Doblhammer-Reiter
  • Kaare Christensen

We connect the recent medical and economic literatures on the long-run effects of early-life conditions, by analyzing the effects of economic conditions on the individual cardiovascular (CV) mortality rate later in life, using individual data records from the Danish Twin Registry covering births since the 1870s and including the cause of death. To capture exogenous variation of conditions early in life we use the state of the business cycle around birth. We find a significant negative effect of economic conditions early in life on the individual CV mortality rate at higher ages. There is no effect on the cancer-specific mortality rate. From variation within and between monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs born under different conditions we conclude that the fate of an individual is more strongly determined by genetic and household-environmental factors if early-life conditions are poor. Individual-specific qualities come more to fruition if the starting position in life is better.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s13524-011-0021-8
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Demography.

Volume (Year): 48 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 507-530

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Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:48:y:2011:i:2:p:507-530
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  4. Van den Berg, Gerard J., 2000. "Duration Models: Specification, Identification, and Multiple Durations," MPRA Paper 9446, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Gerard J. van den Berg & Maarten Lindeboom & France Portrait, 2006. "Economic Conditions Early in Life and Individual Mortality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 290-302, March.
  6. Anne Case & Angela Fertig & Christina Paxson, 2004. "The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance," Working Papers 246, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  7. Ingrid Henriksen & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2005. "Incentives, technology and the shift to year-round dairying in late nineteenth-century Denmark -super-1 ," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 58(3), pages 520-554, 08.
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